Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What's Baking: "A Crummy Commercial?!" Cookies


My all-time favorite Christmas movie is "A Christmas Story." Yes, it's cheesy at times, but there are just so many good lines. "You'll shoot your eye out!" "Ho . . . ho . . . ho!" "Fra-gee-lay. That must be Italian!" "Show me how the piggies eat!" And of course, "Oh, fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuudge." One of my favorite scenes is when Ralphie finally gets his secret decoder ring in the mail, and uses it to solve a message from the Little Orphan Annie radio show. After frantically writing down the numbers, he uses his ring to figure out the letters. And the resulting message? "Don't forget to drink your Ovaltine." Ralphie is devastated to find that the secret message is just a "crummy commercial." 

Remembering this scene from the movie, I figured it would only make sense that I'd add a recipe for malted chocolate sandwich cookies to my Christmas baking list. As it turns out, this is one of D's favorite cookies, so he was all for me baking up a couple batches, too. I switched things up a little bit by baking square cookies rather than circles. I also used a large cookie cutter to make jumbo-sized sandwich cookies. Feel free to make your cookies smaller. Regardless of the size and shape, these cookies are delicious, and make a fun alternative to traditional holiday cookie options.

"A Crummy Commercial?!" Cookies (adapted from this Food & Wine recipe)
makes about 20 large sandwich cookies

For the cookie:
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
6 ounces good-quality milk chocolate chips, melted and cooled slightly
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons good-quality unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the filling:
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup Ovaltine
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners' sugar

1. Use an electric mixer to cream together the butter and sugars. On a lower speed, stir in the melted chocolate and vanilla.
2. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in small batches, stirring between additions. Stir on low speed until the dough just begins to come together.
4. Place a large sheet of parchment paper on your work surface. Place the dough on the parchment paper and form into a disk shape.
5. Put another piece of parchment paper on top of the dough, and roll it out until the dough is about 1/4"-inch thick.
6. Place the dough, sandwiched between the parchment paper, in the fridge to chill for at least 15 minutes.
7. Once the dough is chilled, use a 2" round or 2" square cookie cutter to cut out the cookies. Place the cut out shapes two inches apart on a parchment or silpat-lined baking sheet and chill in the fridge for an additional 10 minutes.
8. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, or until the cookies are set and look dry in appearance.
9. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.
10. While the cookies are cooling, prep the filling by creaming together the butter, ovaltine, vanilla, and powdered sugar.
11. Place the prepped filling in a pastry bag with a 1/2"-inch plain tip.
12. Prep the cooled cookies by flipping them over. Squirt a small dab (about a one-inch mound) of filling onto the center of half of the cookies. Sandwich together with the remaining cookies, smooshing gently to spread the filling evenly within the sandwich. Serve.
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